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Online “consent” is, therefore, a false choice for most Indians. However, consent is also the fulcrum of India’s fast-growing data ecosystem. The Data Protection Bill under consideration by Parliament lists consent as a legal ground for data processing. It also requires that consent be freely given, specific, informed, unambiguous and revocable — all legally-sound objectives, but difficult to achieve in practice. Last year, NITI Aayog sought public comments on the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA), a system that will connect an individual’s financial, health, telecom and other data so that it can be moved from one provider to another. DEPA intends to use consent to ensure that users remain in control of their data.
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